Cat Breeds

Birman Advantage and Challenges

Advantages

  • Birman cats are very friendly and people oriented
  • Birman breeds are adaptable to other pets and gentle kids
  • Most Birmans are active and playful
  • Birmans are softspoken and have a pleasing meo
  • Birmans are intelligent and easy to train
  • Moderate/low grooming, as longhaired cats go

Challenges

  • Very long breeder waiting lists for specific Birman colorations
  • Birmans require regular companionship

Birman Physical Characteristics

Size

  • Medium large

Coat

  • Longhair

Colors

  • Similar to Siamese: Seal Point (almost black tips) Chocolate Point (brown tips) Blue Point (slate blue tips) Lilac Point (pinkish gray tips), among several others
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Birman Personality

Known for centuries as the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman is one of the most mysterious and ancient cat breeds in the world. The Birman’s arresting Siamese-like colorpoint pattern combined with its long silky fur, brilliant blue eyes and pure white gloves (not to mention its sweet and loving temperament), make the Birman one of the most popular in America.

The Birman’s temperament is easy-going, loyal, polite and gentle, a very good choice for households that include older kids or other pets. Playful and people-oriented, the Birman will find you fascinating and wish to be a regular part of your day. The Birman is an extremely social cat that thrives on regular human companionship – it will suffer if left alone for long periods of time. Although not as vocal as the Siamese, the Birman does enjoy communicating its thoughts in melodious, soothing meows. Easier on the ears than the Siamese’s rasp, the Birman's quiet commentary can nevertheless be heard throughout the day.

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Birman History and General Information

History and Origin

Its true origin is shrouded in mystery; few breeds enjoy a reputation as rare and mystical as that of the Birman. Possibly originating in Burmaor ancient Thailand, the Birman cat was once considered sacred, the temple companion of the Kittah priests. Legend tells how the Birman developed the distinctive coloration it possesses today:

The guardians of the Temple of LaoTsunwere pure white, golden-eyed longhaired Birman cats. The temple’s golden goddess had magnificent sapphire blue eyes. The temple’s head priest, Mun-Ha, kept as his companion a beautiful cat named Sinh. One day the temple was attacked and Mun-Ha was killed. At the moment of death, Sinh placed his feet on his master and faced the goddess. The cat’s white fur took on a golden cast, his eyes turned as blue as the eyes of the goddess, and his face, legs and tail became the color of earth. However, his paws, where they touched the priest, remained white to symbolize purity. All the other temple cats became similarly colored. Seven days later, Sinh died, taking the soul of Mun-Ha to paradise.

The modern history of the Birman is almost as steeped in legend and myth as its ancient origin. Just who acquired the cats and brought them to the Western world is unclear, but legend has it that, probably in 1919, a pair of Birman cats were secretly smuggled from Burmato France. The male cat did not survive the difficult voyage, but the female, Sita, did survive, and happily, was discovered to be pregnant.

From this delicate foundation the Birman breed was established in the West. The French cat registry recognized the Birman as a distinct breed in 1925. In 1959, the first Birman pair arrived in the United States, and in 1967 the breed was officially recognized in America. Since then, the Birman has flourished in the United Statesand is the third most popular longhaired cat in this country.

Grooming requirements

For a longhaired breed, the Birman is relatively easy to groom. Daily brushing or combing is usually not needed, so the Birman is a good choice for folks who love longhaired cats but have limited grooming time. Combing with a sturdy steel cat comb once or twice a week is usually enough.Unlike the Persian’s coat, a Birman’s coat has no fine downy undercoat and therefore is not prone to matting. During the Birman’s seasonal shedding, it’s a good idea to increase grooming frequency to keep loose hair under control.

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Birman Health

Health Ailments

The Birman is generally a healthy, sturdy breed with few genetic problems. Selecting a qualified breeder or buying from a reputable pet store will help ensure that your Birman will be free of hereditary purebred ailments. Maintaining your Birman’s proper weight and grooming requirements will also help insure its good health, along with regular checkups at the vet.

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Birman Community

Your Birman

Send us pictures and stories about your Birman.

Birman Discussion Group

Get tips from other Birman lovers – and submit a few ideas of your own.

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